English language edition
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Players enter the volatile currency market. They begin with a small holding and use it through successive auctions to build a valuable currency portfolio. Each round they bid to exchange a portion of their holdings for new holdings offered on the market or by other players.
Players: 3 - 5
Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 155 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 74 cards
This is a card game about collecting sets. It could be themed on any of a million areas, but Goldsieber chose different currencies. After several games, I'd say it falls in the reasonably good to good section of card game fillers that round off an evening's gaming.
The basic premise is that you receive a hand of cards of different currencies, ranging in point value from 10 to 60 points. The number of currencies in play depends on the number of players and features good old currencies like Dollars and Pounds and the funny new ones, like Euros. Which allows the Euro sceptics an interesting starting point -- whether to include the new currencies or not.
Back to the game, which goes in rounds. Two set of four cards are dealt from a pack of remaining cards and each player simultaneously bids in secret for the cards on display. The general goal is to swap the cards and increase the value of your hand. The rules make you concentrate on monopolising one currency, since this is generally where the highest scores can be made. The person who has bid the most in points, regardless of currency, gets to swap first. Alternatively, you may wish to swap your bid with another person's bid because the missing cards are part of their bid. This tends to happen at the conclusion of a hand, when only a few cards may be missing from a set.
This would be pretty mundane, but for another way of scoring points which is by collecting all the cards worth 20 or 30 in a single currency. There are three of each in each currency and it is not too difficult to get one or more sets. When the last swaps are made after the draw pile is exhausted everybody scores. Each currency is valued separately: scores of less than 100 points do not count; above 100 but below 200 they count their face value but 100 points is deducted and above 200 they count face value. Triples in the same currency (the 20's and 30's) also score a bonus of 100 points.
There are several good points about the game. Everybody is involved in the game all the time. The situation for resolving ties in bidding is neat: the card with the lowest serial number (unique for all cards) goes first. It certainly made the cards feel more like money. The presentation of the cards is good, although there are some colour similarities between the Euros and the Yen.
My criticisms are aimed more at the feel that anything else. The sense of trading is just about there, though perhaps it's more like bartering. The scoring system, which generally I like, encourages each player to collect sets. This can mean that as one player realises their goal of collecting a set by implication it is likely that other players are collecting different sets, so the scoring can be quite tight, which is maybe no bad thing. The collection of triples does cause cross currency holdings which mitigates the degree of focusing on one currency.
Overall, an enjoyable diversion which does not trouble the brain too much at the end of a session and can be played with some light banter on the side. Not as good as Katzenjammer Blues or HatTrick for me but better than many others of its kind.